Michael Moore was arrested Monday at the Grand Prairie, Texas home he shares with his father and charged with killing his 16-year-old niece, Alicia Moore. He is being held on $10 million bond. Local authorities took DNA samples from Moore’s family members, but would not say how they narrowed their investigation on the uncle.
As NewsOne previously reported, Alicia went missing Nov. 2, after being dropped off a block from her home by her school bus. Police released the last known image of Moore, which showed her exiting the school bus and looking calm and normal. She was found dead four days later inside a truck some 40 miles away in the town of Wills Point.
A neighbor of Michael Moore’s father spoke fondly of the murder suspect when asked about his arrest. “He is the nicest guy. He takes care of his yard, working, cleaning everything,” said Diane Garland.
Neighbors saw Van Zandt County authorities searched Moore’s home for evidence Monday night before arresting him without incident. Van Zandt County Sheriff Michael Lindsey admitted that the arrest of a family member in connection to Alicia’s death is disturbing.
“I know this is not the outcome that they were expecting,” he said. “I just want our community and the community around Greenville to know we continue to hurt for that family.”
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While news of the arrest stunned the people of Greenville, it also came as a relief to those who still worried a killer was on the loose.
Family members had been critical of police for not issuing an Amber Alert after the disappearance. Greenville police said the incident didn’t match the criteria needed.
Now, the family is stunned one of their own is the alleged killer.
“We’re not answering any questions or giving out any interviews,” said Jennifer Byrd, Alicia’s aunt. “Maybe in a day or two. We just want a little time, since we are overcoming the shocking news that we had late last night.”
School superintendent Don Jefferies is part of the community that rallied to support Alicia Moore’s family. He brought flowers, teddy bears and prayers to the intersection where she got off a school bus and was last seen.
The arrest is a relief for Jefferies.
“It gives us peace of mind that you’ve got a perpetrator out there – alleged perpetrator – who has been caught,” Jefferies said. “We’re excited they’ve got a suspect, hope they’ve got the guilty party so this family and community can have some rest from that.”
Longtime high school friend Heather Spurgin says Alicia never mentioned her uncle Michael. Heather never met him.
“The fact that it was by a family member, someone she trusted and she loved that makes it that much worse,” said Spurgin. “Not only did they lose her but they also lost another family member because he did this to her and now he has to pay for what he did.”
Authorities say that Michael Moore is the only suspect in the case.